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NHL

Washington Capitals open training camp

ARLINGTON, Va. — Stanley Cup-winning teams often worry about a championship hangover; a long, taxing playoff run can manifest with a slow start the following season.

The Washington Capitals started training camp Friday fielding questions about an actual hangover. After all, since the moment captain Alex Ovechkin carried the Stanley Cup through the lobby of the MGM Casino after the Capitals clinched in Las Vegas, social media has been flooded with photos and reports of Washington players enjoying themselves, in what has felt like a nonstop boozy binge.

The Capitals? They’re not as fazed.

“I mean, if we go down in history that we partied a little too hard that’s fine,” winger T.J. Oshie told ESPN. “To us it doesn’t really matter. We got a Cup.”

From splashing in the Georgetown waterfront fountains (fully clothed) to helping Jimmy Fallon do a keg stand from the Stanley Cup on late-night TV to Oshie chugging a beer — through his shirt — on stage at the parade, the Capitals have soaked in the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. It was also the city of Washington’s first championship since the Redskins won the Super Bowl in 1992.

“The four days of celebrating after we won, it’s not a blur, but they all just blend together,” winger Devante Smith-Pelly said.

Asked if fans might be disappointed to find out the team didn’t actually drink the entire summer, veteran forward Brett Connolly added: “Well, don’t get me wrong, guys were enjoying themselves well after we got home. You’ve got to enjoy the good times in your life because it’s not always like that.”

The Capitals went through a traditional Day 1 conditioning skate test Friday, and it didn’t appear any players failed.

“Maybe they didn’t have enough time to get out of shape,” general manager Brian MacLellan said.

Chatter, however, surrounded Ovechkin’s physique. Players and management mentioned how refreshed he looked — even after a summer during which he was supposedly partying the whole time.

“He actually looks a little bit leaner than he has in a while,” MacLellan said. “He looks like he’s in a good place mentally.”

Added linemate Tom Wilson: “It was a tough day, but he looks good and he’s moving well.”

That’s impressive considering reports of the Capitals’ summer celebrations.


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